By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, May 9, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced a new partnership for Geneva County students to utilize the Geneva County Armory as a Career Technical Education Center (CTE).
Governor Robert Bentley said in a statement, “Workforce development training for high school students provides hope and a great opportunity for employment. The Alabama National Guard, Alabama Community College System, and State Department of Education have all partnered with local education officials in Geneva County to jointly utilize the Geneva County Armory. This is a win-win for soldiers who use the armory to train and students who need access to career technical classes. I believe this partnership will support the community and provide a model for other areas of Alabama.”
Alabama National Guard Adjunct General Perry Smith said, “Without the support of Alabama’s giving citizens, our Governor and the state Legislature, this partnership and venture would have never become a reality. This partnership program has made more progress for the Alabama National Guard than any other effort I have seen in 33 years of service.”
State Representative Donnie Chesteen (R-Geneva) said, “This announcement is a game changer for Geneva County. This type of career tech education was simply out of reach for many of our students and this partnership places incredible opportunities for advanced learning right in their own backyard. Not only will the CTE center ensure that Geneva County students have a chance at a brighter future, the revitalization of the Armory is a benefit to our community, the economy, and the State.”
Gov. Bentley said in a statement on Twitter, “Without the local leadership of State Rep. Donnie Chesteen, this project would not have come to fruition. I appreciate his leadership!”
Gov. Bentley said, “This project began about 3 years ago when I visited Geneva for the Road 2 Economic Recovery Tour. We saw a need and worked to meet it. There will be 5 CTE programs here. It may include: health science, teaching & learning, pre-engineering, welding, HVAC or auto technology.”
The Alabama National Guard is searching for ways to maximize available resources through savings or cost avoidance, maintain or improve services to Guardsmen and families and strengthen bonds in Alabama communities.
One tool the Alabama Guard is using is the Army Community Partnership Program (ACP2), a pilot initiative which provides a formal and supportive forum for military installations and communities to work together to address mutual needs, capabilities and capacities. As part of the ACP2, the Alabama National Guard along with the Alabama Department of Education, Alabama Community College System, Geneva City Board of Education and the Geneva County Board of Education will be partnering together to renovate and co-use the 11,725 square foot Geneva armory as a place for soldiers of the 173rd Infantry Company to train during drill weekends and for Geneva County students to utilize as a Career Technical Education Center during the week.
The Bentley administration has closed down or announced the closings of 21 National Guard armories across Alabama due to the lack of money in the Alabama state general fund (SGF) to perform maintenance on the aging National Guard infrastructure.